The ruling Telugu Desam Party looks like is scared of holding elections to the panchayat raj and municipal bodies. The both PR and urban local bodies are now under special officers’ rule as the term of the gram panchayats expired on July 31.
The TDP had won majority rural and urban local bodies in 2014, ahead of the bifurcation of the State. However, it had failed to hold the elections and appointed special officers, indicating its fear of facing elections.
Though the neighbouring Telangana State is gearing up for the local body elections ahead of the 2019 general elections, Andhra Pradesh remains silent on the issue and that also speaks about the respect that the TDP has towards the three-tire democratic structure.
This election, be it the local bodies or the State Assembly, is crucial for the TDP as the party is set to witness the leadership change for the second time in its three decades of existence in State politics. The party had seen the change of leadership from its founder N T Rama Rao to Chandrababu Naidu in 1995, though by a bloodless coup. After the failure of the change of leadership in 1984 in the form of Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, the TDP had seen a successful change in the form of Chandrababu Naidu.
Now, after 18 years, the party is set to see the change of leadership passing from Chandrababu Naidu to his son Nara Lokesh, any time after the 2019 elections. If the party wins, the leadership change might wait for a couple of years with Chandrababu Naidu helping his son emerge as his successor. If the party loses the battle, the change of leadership is not going to be as easy as it would have been.
Keeping this toughest time ahead, Chandrababu Naidu is not ready to test the peoples’ pulse in local body polls before he goes for the bigger battle. He believes that any adverse result in the local body polls would have similar or even greater impact on the general election, which he believes, is not good for his son to succeed.
This is the reason why Chandrababu Naidu is not ready for the local body elections. He wants a safe and smooth succession for Lokesh after the 2019 elections.